Previously the box was on the patio which is closer to the lake and a stand of trees including birch, alder and I think poplar, which might explain the poplar hawk moth. Near the pond is bamboo, cranesfoot, maple, an ancient Oak and the open and over grown vineyard which is full of nettles, ragwort and brambles.
Of course, we need to test the experiment properly by running the moth box in both places again to see whether it really made a difference or if it was just fluke, and I plan to do that this week.
Such is my dedication, I was up and out of bed at 4.40 this morning to check the moth box.
I'll just say that again.
FOUR FORTY AM.
Teddy, who doesn't usually get out of bed until at least 9am, looked at me in astonishment when I came downstairs as if I was an apparition. I'm not sure apparitions wear Cath Kidston dressing gowns but never mind. He declined to follow me outside although Dougal was keen. I thought better of it as we've already explained to them that the "Moth Eating Club" isn't going to happen.
I trudged up the garden (avoiding the copious amount of black slugs that were slimeing their way stickily across the lawn) in my nighty and new wellies, drawn like a moth myself to the blue light glimmering at the top of the garden. This time there were 8 different species in the box of varying sizes and colours.
I've got ID's for all of them bar one, so if anyone knows what it is I'd be very grateful for an ID.
May highflyer (likes damp places and alder)
No ID for this one?
Treble Lines (lives just below the surface and eats the roots of herbaceous plants like plantain)
Pebble prominent (likes willow and alder)
Silver-ground carpet (likes goose grass/ cleavers)
The Snout (likes nettles)
The last moth (or rather 6 moths as they were all the same) was this beautiful White Ermine....
.....who taught me An Important Moth Lesson.
After taking advice from Jon at ALS, I used a pencil to remove them from the box and put them carefully into a jam jar lid to take the photos before flicking them firmly into some safe plants for the day (otherwise they stick to whatever they are on and go to sleep - it isn't safe to handle them with your hands because you can damage them).
I duly enticed the White Ermines onto the pen, but when I tried to ease them into the jam jar lid to take some photos to my horror one by one this happened....
Aghh! I'm dead.
Look what you've done! You've killed me!
Yup. I am absolutely dead.
See? No moving.
No moving AT ALL.
I am Definitely Dead.
Ha ha! Fooled you!
White ermines, in common with many moths, will play a very convincing dead when they feel threatened. BTW- I hope you are all suitably impressed with the above photo. Somewhat of an improvement from the first set of moth pics. I particularly love the tiny sharp lines on the antennae.
After I'd put all the white ermines in the bush (ignoring the deadness of each one who fell off the pen and into the jam jar lid and lay absolutely still on their sides with their legs in the air), I went back to bed and fell asleep until 8am, which is a far more civilised time to get up.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, M completed his 136 mile bike ride with Tall Paul in just under twelve hours, and although he fell asleep in the middle of Game of Thrones (nearly spilling his celebration fizz I might add) he did have enough energy left over to go out and buy a Chinese when he got home. Top marks husband!